The research, conducted by AIB and social enterprise FoodCloud, in February 2021 shows 37% of respondents feel they are wasting more food than before the pandemic even though 8 in 10 people surveyed claim to be taking action to reduce their food waste. Two thirds of the 1,000 surveyed indicated they had an awareness of the connection between food waste and climate change, with 80% of people in Ireland keen to learn more about how to avoid wasting food.
Nearly 4 in 10 Irish adults are concerned about the amount of food waste in their family, with people in Dublin and Munster most concerned. However, all over Ireland people are deeply aware of climate change with 97% saying they are feeling the effects of climate change on their day to day lives. According to Project Drawdown, reducing food waste has been recognised as the single biggest individual solution to reverse the effects of climate change.
To continue tackling the enormous environmental issue of food waste and to support local communities across Ireland AIB has renewed its partnership with FoodCloud for another three years, investing €1.5 million to support the social enterprises’ ambitious 2021–23 strategy. The renewal comes on the back of a successful three-year partnership, during which 6,300 tonnes of surplus food were redistributed – the equivalent of 15.1 million meals and 20,353 tonnes of CO2-eq avoided.
FoodCloud has been a key partner of the bank’s AIB Together programme since 2018. Over that time the partnership developed a significant volunteer programme with approximately 1,200 AIB employees volunteering at FoodCloud’s hubs for a total of 7,524 volunteer hours. This volunteering involved packing food which then went onto charities, as well as skilled volunteering which involved AIB staff supporting FoodCloud in the area of social media, technology and finance.
Speaking about the partnership renewal, Mary Whitelaw, Director of Sustainability at AIB said: “As Ireland’s largest financial services provider, we have a responsibility to our customers and country to lead the way in the fight against climate change, ensuring a greener tomorrow by backing those building it today. I’m delighted to announce the renewal of our partnership with FoodCloud which will support them for a further three years, as they continue to expand their footprint across Ireland. FoodCloud has clearly demonstrated what can be done to practically address environmental and societal issues – protecting the environment while providing food to those who need it most. This closely aligns to AIB’s own carbon-reduction goals to achieve carbon neutrality in our own operations by 2030 and to increase green and transition lending to 70% of lending to new customers by 2030.”
Iseult Ward, CEO of FoodCloud said: “With the support and security of our three year partnership with AIB, FoodCloud were positioned and ready to respond to the increased demand for food within communities brought about by the Pandemic. 75% more food was distributed through our three hubs in 2020 compared to 2019. Having this certainty of support from AIB, meant we were able to take on four new staff in a very short window, which were further supported by AIB volunteers, who have become an integral part of our operations since our partnership began in 2018. AIB’s support over the next three years will further increase FoodCloud’s capacity to redistribute food, boost the expansion of our technology beyond retail to the wider supply chain, and support collaborations with growers to rescue more food at an agricultural level.”